Albeit one of the most mouth-watering matches taking place at Clash of Champions this Sunday, the build-up to the upcoming WWE Women’s Championship bout between Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley has done a disservice to the match’s potential for greatness.
Having had five whole weeks to plan for Raw’s first brand-exclusive special following the draft, you would have expected them to pull out all the stops to create a lineup worth tuning in for.
While some of the matches on the card have all the makings to be an exhilarating physical performance, the build-up into the event has left almost all of them hanging high and dry in terms of storyline. The triple threat match is an especially disappointing example.
Thinking back to last year, the mere prospect of seeing Bayley and Sasha Banks square off with one another on the main roster would have been enough to give any wrestling fan goosebumps. The matches they pulled off at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and Respect in mid-2015 are still regarded as some of the best examples of in-ring storytelling and emotion ever beheld in an NXT ring.
They were instant classics, and should have been enough justification for their inevitable main roster rematches to be held off for a bigger stage, and for whenever WWE had a half-decent story in the works. All right, we haven’t technically seen them square off one-on-one in a Monday Night Raw ring, but they have already competed in a triple threat match with Dana Brooke last week.
Even though the match ended in a blatant double-pinfall with neither Bayley or Banks attaining the upper hand, the decision was awarded to “The Boss” regardless, only to be acknowledged the following week in a throwaway segment to set up the championship match at the pay-per-view.
Having Bayley lose a match in this manner so early is bad enough, but to have her take a pinfall loss following a big boot in a tag team match on the go-home show was the really questionable booking.
We’re already familiar with the big-match abilities of Charlotte and Sasha based on their many encounters, but those unaware of Bayley’s escapades in NXT would have benefited far more from Sunday’s triple threat knowing that the WWE’s resident hug-enthusiast was heading in undefeated.
With the exclusion of her win alongside Dana Brooke on Raw this week, the booking thus far has seen Charlotte’s WWE Women’s Championship reign thrown into question a number of times. She even lost one-on-one to the newcomer just two weeks after reclaiming the title at SummerSlam, so in typical wrestling mentality, that’s sure to mean she’s walking out with the gold in the end.
If that’s the case, Bayley and Sasha Banks will need to look extraordinary in defeat, and having Bayley walk in undefeated would have accomplished that. Of course, there’s the chance Bayley will capture the title and set up her eventual rivalry with Sasha Banks that way, but that would be even worse considering Bayley is always going to be far more entertaining in the underdog role.
Turning our attention to Sasha, her ill-delivered fake retirement speech really failed to strike oil after she lost the championship, and that really set things up for failure later on. It was on that same episode of Raw that Bayley went over on the current titleholder, so for starters, there was enough reason there to set up the triple threat encounter that night instead of with only six days remaining until the event, but her interaction with Bayley has been quite abhorrent since then.
They’re tag-team partners one week, they’re opponents the next, Sasha isn’t a fan of sharing the main roster stage with her friend and former rival, and then they’re buddies again on social media. It’s all very inconsistent, and since it’s assumed that Banks is going to turn heel at some stage to betray her best friend in Bayley, they should really be running with the friends angle more so than they are, so that the eventual backstabbing is even more heart-wrenching.
The overall booking could’ve been so much more. These ladies have so much history together that the match could have just as big a feature as the triple threat at WrestleMania 32 with Becky Lynch in the mix. But instead, no matter how good the match itself promises to be, it’ll be a lackluster story for what’s shaping up to be a lackluster show at Clash of Champions.